One year ago today, my grandmother Irene Sapp Keitt Hicks entered into eternal sleep. She left behind two sons and ten grandchildren, five of these grandchildren belonged to her daughter Ilee that passed on before her. As one of her grandchildren, I remember most the work ethic that she taught us. She was a soft spoken woman, and taught us a great deal by her actions. I have said before, that my grandmother believed that if you were old enough to eat then you were old enough to work. There were six of her grandchildren that lived close by, and we know all to well about work.
I admire the entrepreneurial spirit of my grandmother during a time when most Black women worked as housekeepers. She was from a long line of entrepreneurs, the Sapp brothers, her father's brothers.
Irene owned a long list of businesses during her life and she knew how to manage her money. Well, we all thought that she was stingy, but now I understand that she knew the power that money embodied, especially when you were in control of it instead of the other way around. She used it for what it was and most of us never get that. It was important to her to have the power that came along with those resources.
I hope that we all remember the lessons from all the good that she did in her life, all the barriers that she crossed, from all of her accomplishments as well as her mistakes.
The one thing that hurt her more than anything has outlived her, and that is the displacement of her children and grandchildren. She worked hard to build a foundation for her family. She wanted to build something that she could leave her children and grandchildren, resources. Her long illness depleted a great deal of these assets, and greed destroyed the rest.
I pray that she rests in peace.
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“Over the course of the millennia, all these ancestors in your tree, generation upon generation, have come down to this moment in time—to give birth to you. There has never been, nor will ever be, another like you. You have been given a tremendous responsibility. You carry the hopes and dreams of all those who have gone before. Hopes and dreams for a better world. What will you do with your time on this Earth? How will you contribute to the ongoing story of humankind?” ~ Laurence Overmire